This comes after King(maker) Cake, King for a Day, and After the Kinging.
“I would ask your sister to borrow her necklace some day. Or her cat. There are worse things the family can do to you than kick you out or bind your power, and they have done them all at one point or another.”
Stone chewed over those words for a week before he let himself even think about doing anything about them.
It wasn’t like he didn’t have other things to think about. Classes were back in session, he still had a few relatives hassling him about the trinket he’d gotten in his muffin, and something over the Christmas break – he hoped it wasn’t the rabbit trinket, really, really hoped it wasn’t – had gotten him a little more attention in school than he normally had, or than he felt comfortable with.
Jenny Connor had literally followed him home from school the other day! She’d been talking to Chalce, so he hadn’t noticed she was even on the bus – his sister was popular, even if she didn’t drive to school; she was always talking to someone – and tried to follow him into his room.
Chalce had put a stop to that and sent Jenny away, but it didn’t leave Stone feeling particularly sanguine about school.
It took a week for all that to die down – or at least, for his sisters to run enough interference that it looked like it had died down. In that time, Julie Fenway had stopped talking to him, which… he probably should have expected, all things considered, but just left him grumpy and not willing to talk to anyone female.
He didn’t so much decide to ask Beryl as decide it was a good way to get rid of her quickly when she showed up in the doorway to his room. It wasn’t the nicest thought… but he’d really hoped he had a chance with Julie, and now she wouldn’t even answer his texts.
“Hey,” Beryl tried. He knew he’d been snotty lately, but Stone couldn’t bring himself to say more than “hey.”
“Is there anything I can…” She shrugged awkwardly.
“Actually… Aunt Rosaria said I should talk to your necklace. And, uh. Your cat.”
“I can’t guarantee anything from Radar, but I can bring Joseph over.” She squinted at him. “Is Aunt Rosaria threatening you?”
“Threatening? No. I – I don’t think so. She said she’d teach me.” Stone wrinkled his nose. “I don’t know, but I think she’s worried about the rest of the family threatening me.”
“Screw ‘em.” Beryl frowned fiercely. “If they want to threaten my brother, they have to go through me first.”
Stone didn’t have the heart to tell her exactly how un-intimidating that was.
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